Waheeda Rehman is a veteran Indian film actress who has predominantly worked in Hindi films. She has also appeared in Telugu, Tamil, and Bengali films. She has been quoted as the ‘most beautiful’ actress by various media platforms.
Waheeda Rehman was born on 3 February 1938 (age 81 years; as in 2019) in the Chengalpattu town of Tamil Nadu, India. Her zodiac sign is Aquarius.
She did her schooling from St. Joseph’s Convent in Vishakapatnam. She and her sister learned Bharatnatyam in Chennai from her Guru Trichunder Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Guru Jayalaxmi Alva, Doyen among ‘Nattuvanars (the person who trains a dancer and would also join the dancer in the performance to sing vocalised rhythm, known as Sollukattu)’ in Mumbai.
She dreamt of becoming a doctor, but due to her mother’s illness, she gave up on her dreams.
Height: 5′ 5″
Weight: 55 kg
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: White
Family, Caste & Wife
Waheeda Rehman belongs to the Dakhini Muslim Family. Her father Mohammed Abdul Rehman was a District Commissioner and died when Waheeda was in her teens. Her mother’s name is Mumtaz Begum. She has three sisters named Sayeeda Malik, Shahida, and Zahida. Zahida is the eldest sister.
She got married to the veteran filmmaker and actor Kamal Jeet (born Shashi Rekhi).
She has a son named Sohail Rekhi and a daughter named Kashvi Rekhi, who are writers.
Sohail married Dechhen Pelden.
She was rumoured to have been in a relationship with the veteran filmmaker and actor, Guru Dutt.
She made her acting debut with the Telugu movie “Jayasimha” in 1955.
Her Tamil debut as an actress was with the film “Kaalam Maari Pochu” in 1956.
She made her Hindi film debut with the movie “C.I.D.” in 1956.
She made her breakthrough in Bollywood with the movie “Guide (1965)” and became the most demanded actress of the 1960s and the 1970s.
She has acted with many noted actors like Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and many more. The biggest hit of her career was Khamoshi (1970) opposite Rajesh Khanna.
From the mid-seventies, her career as the lead heroine ended, and she started her career as a supporting actor. After her appearance in the movie Lamhe (1990), she took a hiatus from her acting career for 12 years. She made her comeback with the movie “Om Jai Jagadish” in 2002.
- Padma Bhushan in 2011
- NTR National Award in 2006
- Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards for Best Actress (Hindi) for Teesri Kasam in 1967
- National Film Award for Best Actress for the movie “Reshma Aur Shera” in 1971
- Best Actress for “Guide” in 1967
- Best Actress for “Neel Kamal” in 1968
- Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994
- Food: Bhelpuri, Panipuri, Bhutta
- Dancing was her passion, and it was her dance that set her background for acting. She was featured as a dancer in the Telugu film ‘Rojulu Marayi (1955).’
- At the success party of “Rojulu Maraayi,” Guru Dutt noticed Waheeda and decided to train her. Guru Dutt brought her to Mumbai and cast her as a ‘vamp’ in his production C.I.D. (1956).
- When she was going to debut as an actress in C.I.D., the director of the film, Raj Khosla, asked her to change her name because he considered it to be very long. Waheeda disagreed; saying that it was her parents, who had given her the name and she liked it. Raj pointed out that everyone had changed their names, from Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan) to Nargis (Fatima Rashid) and Meena Kumari (Mahjabeen Bano) to Madhubala (Mumtaz Jahan); he further added that she was adamant. To this, Waheeda replied,
I am not everyone.”
- Devanand was her favourite co-star. In her first movie with Dev Anand, she was very shy and did not have the courage to call him “Dev.” Dev Anand said that he would not be able to do romance with her if she would not call her by her name. After a lot of efforts, she finally called him Dev.
- She has done almost every genre of film and has played a myriad of roles, right from being a teenage heroine to a mother and then to a grandmother.
- She regards her role in “Phagun (1973),” in which she played the role of Jaya Bahaduri’s (Jaya Bachchan) mother, as the ‘biggest mistake of her career’; because after the film, people had started offering her motherly roles.
- Waheeda has played both lover and mother to Amitabh Bachchan; she has played the role of Amitabh’s lover in “Adalat (1976)” and his mother in “Trishul (1978).”
- In October 2004, a Waheeda Rehman film retrospective was held at Seattle Art Museum at the University of Washington where Waheeda participated in a spirited panel and audience discussions on her most memorable films; Pyaasa (1957), Teesri Kasam (1966), and Guide (1965).
- She loves making ‘Sevaiya;’ it is something that she doesn’t forget to cook in Eid.
- Her best friend was Nanda, the veteran actress.
- Even Asha Parekh and Helen are her best friends. The trio is often seen going out together.
- She considers Guru Dutt as her mentor.
- She learned Urdu and Tamil from her parents.
- She likes photography and has an interest in wildlife photography.
- In the movie, “The Songs of Scorpion (2017),” Waheeda is seen singing for the first time in her voice. The film had its world premiere at the 70th Locarno Film Festival in Locarno, Switzerland.
- Nasreen Munni Kabir wrote her biography titled “Conversations With Waheeda Rehman,” which was published in 2014.
- She is the ambassador for the non-profit organisation called ‘Rang De,’ which helps people fight against poverty.